Saturday, April 16, 2011


First it was a lovely breakfast at Luna Park Cafe with everyone from home and service from Sweetpea, Queen of Seattle Rockabilly and our good friend.  Then it was a quick trip to Byrnie Utz Hats to replace my unraveling (and too small) brown Greek fisherman's cap.  Finally, I got dropped off at the Center for Wooden Boats.  Martin had invited everyone who was maintenance crew for the Betsy D to come down for her first voyage of 2011 after weathering the winter and getting painted.  We had time.  We moved boats around.  We rigged our boat--sails, snotters, spars. Eventually, the Sail Now! Shore School even took a break, and we got a chance to get into the boat house and make coffee.

We tried very hard to wait until the rendezous time of 1:00, but we couldn't.  No one else showed up.  So Martin and I got our life vests on and took her out just the two of us.  Martin, by his own admission, had not skippered the Betsy D in six months.  And tho' I had been manning the sheet of the Admirable only a few weeks before, and had been crew on sharpies for years, I had to refamiliarize.  It took us some maneuvering and relearning before we got out of the channel and into the lake.  Then it was great.  The wind picked up, and the Blanchards out on lessons were forced to reef their mains.  We kept on, heeled over nicely, Martin at the tiller, me on the foresheet.

We outpaced the Queen of Seattle but were kind enough not to cut her off.   But our biggest accomplishment was a matter of civic duty...with a bit of raw vengeance.  A jet ski was doing well over the allowable speed and leaving a bad wake.  Martin cussed him out and called the Harbor Patrol.  The culprit slowed down but sped up again at the exact moment the Patrol showed up and thus set himself up perfectly for a schooling that lasted half an hour.

At this point the lake was full of whitecaps.  We had hit our groove, went down the west side of the lake, and docked effortlessly.  Sailing is, to quote one skipper and teacher, a "full-body activity."  It means that you feel the wind, the undertow, the tactile sensation of the line or the tiller.  It also means that just as easily your mind can be relaxed or your heart can be racing.  Martin and I got both.  We thought about going back out again, but the wind only got stronger and it was still just us two.  No matter.  The Betsy D had her tryout, and, in Martin's words, "nothing broke."  And we had our fun.

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